March 6, 2007

Let’s Turn Tax Time into our Benefit

By Paul Bieber

There is an energy tax credit for every homeowner who has installed new energy saving windows. The rule is easy–does the window meet the energy star criteria? Most new windows, especially those with low-E will meet this standard.

The taxpayer will get a credit for 10% of the purchase price, to a $200 maximum for qualifying windows. There are also credits for replacing boilers, roofs, or adding insulation.

This is a credit to taxes which is better than a deduction. A credit is a direct reduction of taxes owed. You don’t have to itemize deductions to take advantage of a tax credit.

So here is what every glass shop and window distributor should do:

Confirm that the windows you sell are eligible for the energy-star rating. If they are not, change to ones that are.

Next, make a list of every customer you sold a window to during 2006.

Call each customer and explain to them that their purchase may be eligible for the energy tax credit up to $200. Then recommend that they talk with their professional tax advisor for more details. Some of your customers may know this. So What! No one minds a phone call reminding them how to reduce tax bills. Right now is the time to do this.

Everyone will say thanks and appreciate your phone call. Believe me, this is a winner. A possible call will sound like this:

“Hi Mrs. Brown, this is Paul from Paul’s Glass Shop, we were the company that installed your low-e window(s) last August. I just wanted to remind you that the US Government is giving a tax credit on the purchase of energy-efficient windows, and that your windows qualify for this credit. It is important that you mention this to whomever is preparing your taxes. They will know what to do from there.”

Customers will say thank you. You can extend the conversation by asking them if they have any questions about their new windows or door. You can gently remind them that you do other types of glass work, whether it is shower doors or auto glass. If they liked the windows you installed, could they recommend a friend who may be interested?

Try not to leave this message on a machine, it will get lost in the clutter. Try to speak with the decisive buyer on your previous installation. This is not a sales call though; be gentle in tone. This is just a follow-up, that may save your customer money. This will cause them to remember you when they need services in the future.

Let their tax advisor give the exact details on taxes. You want to become their low-e glass advisor.